I’m back from tromping up mountains, every steep pitch, then down again, through hellebore covered slopes, slipping backwards onto my butt more times than I care to remember, Fat hellebore leaves are a bitch to walk on especially when the slope is steep. Luckily there was enough snow and lateral moraines to keep things interesting.

Sometimes flowers like Valarian, Paintbrush Fleabane, Aster, Potentilla, Columbine and bog Orchids managed to push their way up between the hellebore leaves filling the meadows with color.

The hike leader packed two boxes of red wine for us all to enjoy thus our campfire conversations were lively and fun until my eyelids shut and I had to pry them open with my fingers so I could see through the gloaming, back to my tent. Yesterday, the third day, we came down the Red Mountain trail. I was reminded of all the skiing I have done there and all the skiing I have yet to do there. This slope is usually covered in snow not hellebores.

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After five days of walking, biking and driving the Okanagan wine route, tasting as much wine as we could before our taste buds gave out we knew we had had enough. In fact now we are home and have unpacked and gloated over all the fabulous wine we just had to buy a bottle, or two or three of, I do not feel like drinking any of them. I’m thinking maybe a beer would be a nice change. I’m sure the feeling will pass.

I‘m amazed at the extent my knowledge of wine and how much my taste buds and sense of smell has developed since I first did a wine tour in the Okanagan three years ago. We didn’t even feel guilty if after tasting all the wines on offer our discerning brains told us it was all crap and we didn’t need to buy any of it. It helps if you trust your first instinct, ignore the tasting notes and try to tune out what the sommelier is telling you. After tasting five different Chardonnays from five different wineries I determined I like a Chardonnay to be lightly oaked with a taste of fruit. Too much oak and the flavour of the grape is lost, this is true of red wines as well.

wine-route

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A new University of Copenhagen study reveals that people who are deprived of donating substantial sums of money suffer from various afflictions ranging from sleep disorder and frequent episodes of severe depression. “The study showed test subjects had diminished cognitive abilities during the donation-free period”, said Uschi Znamenak, lead study author. The overall functionality of the body-mind system is decreased by at least 25%.

On the other hand, the study volunteers who were navigated to and allowed to make donations, even people who usually are very careful with spending their salaries slept calmly for eight hours or at least until they felt rested. The control group had no medical or other disorders and expressed no need for medications, nicotine, alcohol or caffeine. Nine of ten excelled in difficult math tests and their physical fitness was evidenced by the fact that five of them completed the Cooper test in less than 10 minutes.

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There are two great temptations every Christian faces in regard to how he relates to the world. The first is that which we are most familiar with, that narrative of a boy taking his inheritance early and running off to cavort with heathens. Stay out of pool halls. Check. Don’t rush down to Cancun on Spring Break. Check. I was in Bible College when I started hearing about the second temptation, to withdraw from the

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beyond-religion-sexuality-bible-beyond-religion-s-39In this Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, Darcey Steinke reviews Mary Gordon’s Circling My Mother: A Memoir, what seems like another really excellent book by a really excellent Catholic writer. In the review, Steinke, the daughter of a Lutheran minister, reminisces about the days when priests were not just respected, but revered. A time, frankly, when American Catholicism seemed to have something to offer to America. In literature, AC gave us Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy; in politics, the Kennedys; in Hollywood, the convert Gary Cooper; and in the world of service, reform, and activism, two more converts, Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day.

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It’s Saturday night and I’m exhausted. Things have been so busy these days that I feel like I’m just rushing through the day from one thing to another with no time to sit back and enjoy any one of them.

Today, I was so mixed up that I went to a birthday pool party an hour EARLY! I was standing there with my son looking around and wondering why no one else was there (we were supposed to meet at the pool of an apartment building complex). Then when I called my friend, I thought it was strange that she sounded surprised to hear from me and said that she wasn’t ready yet but would come and get me at the pool as soon as she could. Aren’t we supposed to meet out here? Why isn’t she here already? It took me a good three minutes to figure it out. Duh! I’m super early.

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For one or two days out of every year I have to wear a suit to work.  This is one of those days.  I hate it.  I can’t stand wearing suits.  I feel like I’m at my own open-casket funeral.  I don’t mind tuxes, in fact I quite enjoy wearing my tux.  I think a man in a tux is just about irresistible.  And most men look pretty darn good in a suit.  I just hate wearing one.  They are itchy and stuffy and blah.

I own two suits.  The first one is now a museum piece, as I had a small waist when I first bought few years ago.  Days gone by, my friends, days gone by.  The second is a chunky dark gray suit that looks like it was taken right out of The Sopranos wardrobe.  It was poorly tailored in a rush to have it ready for my grandfather’s funeral and completely unsuited (ha, unsuited!) for business use.  Unless I’m conducting business in a titty bar.

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Most of us are familiar with the story of the Six Million Dollar Man, and most of us have eaten a Hundred Grand Bar (the candy bar formerly known as the Hundred Thousand Dollar Bar). But what about the Hundred Thousand Dollar Trigger Finger?

This story concerns an acquaintance of mine who is a sworn officer for a state law-enforcement agency. One weekend, while doing a little home improvement, he accidentally cut off the tip of his right index finger, just above the first knuckle. Since the guy is right handed, his right index finger is his trigger finger—a fairly important digit for someone in law enforcement.

After the accident, he and the severed fingertip were rushed to the hospital. The doctors called in a hand specialist—there’s a specialist for every body part, apparently—who attempted to re-attach the finger. The hand specialist was unsuccessful, so he called in a plastic surgeon to sew up the shortened digit in a way that would minimize scarring. All in all, my acquaintance spent two nights in the hospital.

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So first off, we’ve already had 1 month of 2016 – will somebody apply the brakes, please? February is a little bit of a funny month – it’s the one that I never really remember, or pay much attention to. It’s just a bit of a filler if you ask me – once March kicks in, then the year really starts but I have certain expectations about February…

1. Expect more blog posts about my placement because it’ll be in full force this month – I just completed my first full shift and it went quite well. I’ve got plenty of jobs to be getting on with (possibly too many) so there’s lots of new stuff to learn – slightly gutted, but oh well, what can you do?

2. Taking on Math. I found this really good website with Math questions, so I am getting ready for my Math exam. How good is your math? Check if you can pass these tests: http://mycareertools.com/2016-ged-practice-tests/

3. Money will be tight. Every bill known to man looks like it’s coming out of my bank account in February – credit card, subscriptions, phone contract… *sigh* Last month I think I had about $5 to last me two weeks – very tough, and I delved deeper into the credit card pot, but I came out the other side which I expect to do this month too… ask me that at the end of February.

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First of all, thank you everyone for the prayers concerning Nathan. I received a reply from him this morning…And he is fine. Yay! He actually had not yet made it to Baghdad yet at the time he had emailed me…and while he had heard about attacks, he had not even heard that there had been soldier casualties. Anyway, thank you. I’m still feeling nervous for him, however, and that will probably continue. Nothing you can do about that.

So yesterday was a non-stop panic attack. If you don’t remember me talking about Nathan, my childhood friend who is currently serving in the Army, …and you obviously haven’t read enough of the archives to know about him. The guy that is going through the divorce, I’m going through a break up…and we’re both too vulnerable to know better.

Yes, I think I kind of have feelings for this guy. But I can’t act on them right now even if I wanted to, you know? We’re both in the wrong place right now. He’s broken. I’m broken. We’re both a mess and for now we have sat and written endless emails to each other in an attempt to vent out our feelings. There are things we have shared with each other that we would not and have not shared with our other friends and/or family members.  It’s been nice to have him in my life. And well, yes, I have developed some sort of feelings. I’m not sure what kind but yeah. They are there.

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Today is Black Friday but it is also Buy Nothing Day however, one should be prepared for the other 364 days when you can spend, without worrying about your conscience, therefore I present to you the, The Ars Technica Holiday Gift Guide.

This year they’ve conveniently divided it up into sections. Under the kitchen section for example, the first item is an Impressa E Espresso Machine, made by Jura-Capressoit it will set you back an astonishing $899 although, when it comes to the coffee fiend who shares your bed you should spare no expense.

Moving along the next section to catch my eye was the fitness section.

The first item on the list is the Gramin forerunner 310 GPS. It’s a special gadget made for runners. You strap it too your wrist like a watch. If you are a runner and feel the need for something to track how far, how fast and at what pace you are running you want this. It also comes with a heart rate monitor you strap around your chest so it can send data wirelessly to the GPS. The cheapest place to get this is at GPScity.ca or .com. For a cool $169.95 CAD you are saving $80 -$100 over the competition. Mine arrived in the mail two days ago. I will post a review in another week or two once I get on to it.

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Always believe in the abilities you were blessed with whenever you came out your mother’s womb. To live a life without first believing in yourself is living a life set for failure. Countless times people second guess themselves. Maybe competition looked fierce, the journey too long, or maybe you failed last time. When looking in the face of opposition it’s always easiest to quickly look the other way. You are not alone, there are so many people doubt themselves and give up all chances.

That’s usually when you start doubting whether you have what it takes. The second you second guess is the very second in which you start setting yourself up for failure. Without first believing you can succeed will make it a million times harder to get money in actuality. More room for opposition to get in the way. More room for competition to push fear into your heart. High chances you will waste time when you feel like you’re all alone in your visions. Believe you’re a natural super man in the flesh and anything is within reach.

It’s Your Bazooka

In this world there’s a lot of hate, disrespect, and jealousy. People see you doing your thing and try to knock you down out of pure jealousy. It’s crazy, but there will be many attacks at your motivation when you get money. Believe in the abilities you have and let no one tell you otherwise. Blast any negativity by believing you have what it takes to get the job done.

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The best book I have read lately is called, The Help, written by Kathryn Stockett. I put it on my hold list at the library back in November. Five days ago I bought it home and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish reading it.

All the action in this story takes place in Jackson Mississippi from 1960-1964.

The story unfolds from the eyes of two black domestic workers, Aibileen and Minny, they spend their days cleaning up after white families, cooking their meals and raising their children.

Skeeter, a young white woman just returned from college, is struggling with the racial inequalities she sees all around her. As well, her mother would like her to be like her friends and settle down with a husband and kids. But Skeeter is desperate to become a writer.

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Why did whoever invented time decide to be against me in every possibly way?

  1. Each and every weekend flies by in a blur of food, kisses, Netflix series and general good timestaking-work
  2. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get everything done in the day at work.
  3. When I know I’m attending a meeting, course, training afternoon, the time seems to stop for the few hours I’m attending.
  4. I was all proud of myself Friday morning when I woke up in New York, pulled on my running clothes, and left the vacation house for a run.  And then I got two feet up the cliff of a driveway and thought I would die.  I huffed and puffed (walking) to the top of the steepest part of the cliff, then got myself running again.
  5.  So here I am back at home, completely covered in scratches and bruises.  I can’t tell which injuries are from my “run,” and which are from my hot tub antics.  I’m pretty much a mess.
  6. I’m due back at the gym tomorrow, and I’m sitting here thinking to myself, “Maybe next day, maybe now let’s take another test… ha ha ha  am. I just looking for a reason to sleep in a little tomorrow?
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The other day, while shopping, I got a craving for licorice allsorts, actually I’d been craving them for days, and decided to satisfy it right then. However, the only licorice allsorts I could find, came in a giant box, like the sort of box one might find under the Christmas tree. I briefly considered going to another store, hoping they would have something smaller because I don’t need a whole kilogram of licorice allsorts. But going to another store was not in my plan, so I thought, what the hey, and I bought them.

I managed to eat quite a few on the drive home. Feeling somewhat sick I hid them in the bottom of the freezer, forgetting all about them until today. So HELP ME, because now I’m forced to blog about my licorice allsorts self made addiction, in a supreme effort to take my mind away from eating every last one of them right now!

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Anxious to get going with this wristwatch like GPS, designed for running, I took a hasty look at the quick-start-guide, strapped the Garmin too my wrist, put on my running gear and went outside.
The device took a couple of minutes, or less, to find a satellite. I pressed the start button and I was off.

What it keeps track off

You can keep track of useful things like how far you run, the time it takes you to do the run, your pace, your heart rate and not so useful things like how many calories you burn.

The GPS comes with software to program the Garmin for the type of run you want to do and the pace and heart rate zone you want to do it at. The software keeps track of all your runs and also comes with a set of prepackaged workouts.

You can also just program the Garmin.

Heart Rate Monitor

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imagesWhen I saw this I could almost taste its sour sweetness. I got an intense craving to make one for myself. I couldn’t find a recipe I liked so I ended up inventing my own.

I used lots of sweet butter, 4 lemons, 4 free range eggs, white sugar, white flour and cream. I made the crust in the usual way cutting the butter into the sugar and flour, adding just enough water to bring it together into a soft pastry. I rolled it out, put it into my pie dish and placed it in a hot oven to partially cook. I grated the rind off the lemons, squeezed out all their juice and beat them up with the eggs, sugar and cream. I took the partially cooked pie shell out of the oven, poured in the filling, turned the oven down to medium and put it back in.

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I used to drive my car around my running route using its odometer to calculate the distance I was running. Since the distance I run varies and is also increasing in length every week using the cars odometer was sort of overkill, then I heard about runnersworld.com

If you join their site you can keep track of all kinds of running related things. The main thing, for me, was to be able to use google maps to calculate how far I was running. However, signing up on their site was a pain. When I finally succeeded I mapped my run by clicking my mouse at intervals along the road. It told me the total number of miles I had run. Mileage or should I say kilometrage is also available in kilometers which I prefer. I saved my map and logged out. Later, when I came back to the site to make another map, or rather gloat about the extra distance I was now running, the site refused to recognize me. It told me I did not exist, even though I entered my coordinates a couple a times, fearing typos. Humpf.

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